In the coaching industry, there exists a paradox. We simultaneously preach about coach welfare, rest and recovery and knowing what we’re worth whilst also looking for improved compensation for our work. Although these two viewpoints can definitely be achieved together, I do believe that we can’t stand up for what we’re worth, before firstly putting in the necessary hard work to elevate ourselves above the competition.
Now I’m definitely an advocate for looking after yourself as a coach, father, mother, brother, sister, friend or athlete. We should always treat our job as our job and not let it become the only aspect of our lives from which we derive our identity. However, over the last couple of years I’ve found that it is not through doing less that we arrive at contentment and realise our potential.
After the youthful exuberance of my early years in the industry was burnt out by what felt like a brick wall of rejection, I saw my peers and fellow graduates succumb to the pitfalls of apathy, helplessness and feelings of “what’s the point in trying”. Often this led to them pulling back from their current roles and doing the bare minimum necessary to receive their paycheck.
Now these same individuals would also continually complain that the industry doesn’t reward us fairly for what we put in. They would do this while delivering the exact same level of service as each of their competitors. Never elevating themselves above the rest by putting in the required extra effort to set themselves apart from the rest.
Then when someone in their circle begins to show an interest in doing a little more, they respond in a cynical manner in an attempt to hold the other person back. What they pass off as standing up for what they’re worth and looking after a co-worker is actually holding them, those around them and the entire industry back. Crabs in a barrel.
Luckily enough, I may have reached a point in my career when I lay on the side of chronic cynicism, but I never decided to combat my feelings of helplessness with any apathy about my situation. My response was more aligned with the values that I was brought up with as a kid. So, I met the challenge head on with an attitude of, “I’ll show them what they’re missing out on”.
Hard work and pride in what you do are two things that have caused me some turmoil over the years, as I navigated the perils of perfectionism and feelings of low self-worth from not meeting my imagined potential. But through persistence and an attitude that I’ll work so hard that they can’t ignore me, I’ve managed to go out on my own, run a successful business, become an employer, work with a number elite teams and athletes, put together a successful podcast and become somewhat of an authority in the industry in my chosen niche.
None of this would’ve happened for me had I taken the “no” that I heard and accepted it. None of this would’ve happened if I listened to the naysayers who told me I couldn’t create a job for myself where I only worked with elite-level athletes. None of this would’ve happened if I listened to those who told me to forgo all of the stress of self-employment and “just get a real job”. None of this would’ve happened had I listened to my co-workers who told me to relax and “just do what’s necessary to get by”.
So, although it’s much easier to sit back and execute only the tasks on the job spec, I don’t believe that if you do so, you’ll ever elevate yourself into…
- A role that gives you both the temporal and financial freedom to give your family what you feel they deserve.
- A role that gives you feelings of complete self-actualisation and fulfilment.
So although I learned the hard way that workaholism will inevitably lead to burnout and that there definitely comes a point where you need to switch off and relax, I wouldn’t change what I went through for the world. And if offered the option of doing a little less or doing a little more, I’ll still always land on the side of more. As with a small amount extra, a little bit more pride in the quality of service I provide and continual upskilling and self-improvement, it’s relatively easy to stand out from the crowd.
Maybe if we all attempt to do so, then eventually we will all be compensated for what we’re worth. Let’s simply attempt to strike the balance between what’s necessary and what’s optimal, let’s move the industry forward and let’s get rewarded, together, for all of the work that we put in.